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The most-clicked Dome posts of 2012 show N.C. in national spotlight

What made the biggest splash on Dome in 2012? The top 5 stories -- in terms of reader clicks --reflect how North Carolina played a major role in the national political scene and the Washington-driven penchant for little news bits that speak to a larger narrative. It doesn't necessarily reflect the biggest news of the political year, but what generated interest in the blogosphere.

Click below to see the top 5.

Morning after, McCrory sets stage for transition

At his first news conference as North Carolina’s governor-elect, Republican Pat McCrory pledged to reach out to legislative leaders in both parties and “move very quickly” on forming an administration.

McCrory plans to speak to reporters in Raleigh on Thursday afternoon to offer details of his transition. “There’s not a lot of days to move so we’re going to move very quickly,” McCrory told a news conference at the Westin in Charlotte on Wednesday. “And there’s a sense of urgency.”

Exit polls shows few North Carolina voters made choices on Election Day

The exit polls in North Carolina show the economy is the most pressing issue on voters' minds, specifically rising prices and unemployment, according to the National Election Pool.

About four in 10 of the state's voters believe their financial situation is about the same as four years ago and a plurality think the U.S. economy is improving. Only 3 percent of voters decided their choices on Election Day and another 3 percent in the few days prior. About three in four voters made up their minds before Labor Day, the exit polls show.

For more results, as posted by News 14 Carolina, click here or read below. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 4 percent. See more here from CNN.

Long lines, dedicated voters on Election Day in North Carolina

Thousands of North Carolina voters rushed to the polls bright and early today, eager to play their part in the final act of the 2012 election.

Most turning out today are traditionalist. They revel in the shared patriotism of joining neighbors at the voting station on the first Tuesday in November.

“It’s exciting to be in the same place, the same day with all your neighbors. You feel like it counts,” said Marshall Green, a Democrat who lives in the Oakwood neighborhood of Raleigh.

Joe Scarborough vows to grow a mustache if Obama wins North Carolina

Morning Joe's Joe Scarborough bet Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod he would grow a mustache if the president wins North Carolina or Florida.

The on-air boast was designed to match a bet Axelrod made moments earlier, promising to "shave off my mustache of 40 years if we lose" Pennsylvania, Michigan or Minnesota. (Starts at 5 minutes into video.)

"Alright!" Axelrod said in taking Scarborough's bet. "After the election you guys aren't going to have that much to talk about so people can tune in everyday to watch your mustache grow."

Morning Roundup: Dalton tries to stir his African-American base

Democrat Walter Dalton's effort to make race an issue in the governor's campaign reflects the lingering potency of what has historically been a hair-trigger issue in North Carolina. According to some, it also represents the continued use of race as a political tool.

“It’s firing up the base, that’s all (Dalton’s) trying to do,” said Gary Pearce, a Democratic strategist from Raleigh. “Dalton’s in a position where one of the big things he needs to do is get the base fired up, and he thinks he found a way to do it.” Read more here.

More political headlines:

--Acknowledging that Republicans have work to do to sway women voters, a group of “Women for Mitt” led by former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina talked about the presidential challenger Thursday.

NBC/Marist poll: Obama holds slight edge, McCrory cruising in North Carolina

A new NBC News/Marist poll released Thursday shows the presidential race in North Carolina deadlocked and Republican Pat McCrory cruising with a comfortable lead in the governor's race.

President Barack Obama received 48 percent to Mitt Romney's 46 percent among likely voters and held a 49-45 advantage among registered voters. The two-point margin is within the poll's 3.1-point margin of error.

McCrory took 52 percent of likely voters compared to 39 percent for Democrat Walter Dalton in the governor's race. The Sept. 23-25 survey -- which include voters undecided but leaning toward a candidate -- is surely disappointing for Dalton given that his two weeks of TV advertising did not appear to help his cause. 

Morning Roundup: Dalton, McCrory tax plans define governor's race

A defining question in the governor’s race will affect the pocketbooks of every North Carolina resident: Who should pay taxes and how much?

Democrat Walter Dalton and Republican Pat McCrory are traveling the state touting wildly different tax plans as part of their pitch to revive the state’s economy and remedy the persistently high jobless rate. Dalton offers modest tweaks to the tax code with a combination of incentives and tax breaks, while McCrory is pushing for a complete overhaul that could shift the state’s tax burden by billions of dollars.

Read the full story here and get a breakdown of the candidates tax plans. Also read about how McCrory and Dalton have a record of supporting tax hikes.

More political headlines:

--Rob Christensen: Last week vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan of Wisconsin was briefly in the state. On Tuesday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will be in North Carolina. The Wisconsin-North Carolina connection is not an obvious one. But the states are more alike than one might imagine at first blush.

Nikki Haley to campaign for Mitt Romney in North Carolina next week

S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley returns to North Carolina next week -- this time to campaign for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Haley visited Fayetteville earlier this week for Republican Pat McCrory's campaign, also helping him raise money at a private fundraiser. She returns Monday for a "Women for Mitt" event at the Halle Cultural Arts Center in Apex. The event begins at 9 a.m.

How would Obama '12 victory rank among top Tar Heel political races?

Hampton Dellinger lists North Carolina's top 5 political races in a recent piece penned for The Atlantic magazine's website. Not surprisingly big names like John Edwards, Jesse Helms and James Holshouser dominate the list.

President Barack Obama's 2008 win gets a shout-out at the end -- though not officially ranked among the North Carolina-specific contests. And not surprisingly, the current Walter Dalton v. Pat McCrory contest doesn't appear destined for fame.

Dome asked Dellinger, a Democrat, to size up the current governor's race and presidential battle in light of his list. Read below.

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